In a trip full of special moments, this particular image struck as especially beautiful…not necessarily for its composition or exposure, but rather for the story behind it. The giraffe were moved in the back of an open-topped lorry with their heads visibly sticking above the shipping crate. As we drove through towns and villages, we passed many people who had never seen live giraffe before. The changes in their dispositions and facial expressions as they realized what they were seeing were truly charming and one of the more memorable aspects of the journey. On one dusty road in Gulu town, a young girl, having seen the truck full of giraffe slowly navigating the city streets, quickly ran inside her house to grab a small plastic giraffe toy. She came back out to the road and waved it at the giraffe as they drove along to their new home in Kidepo Valley National Park. My heart soared to see the joy in her face.
Children and drivers Line the roads and dusty tracks As giraffe go past
This album contains one image of every giraffe known to exist in Uganda's Kidepo Valley National Park. Our conservation monitoring programme has discovered that there are only 37 known giraffe in an area that once held one of Uganda's largest giraffe populations. Years of civil unrest and intense poaching decimated this population to near extirpation, but thanks to the heroic conservation efforts of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority and the incredible resilience of this ecosystem, the population is starting to rebound. Remarkably, all giraffe currently in this park are descended from less than 5 individuals. The Giraffe Conservation Foundation in partnership with the Uganda Wildlife Authority is planning a conservation translocation later this year to augment this population with individuals from Murchison Falls National Park to help in returning this population to its historical levels. Funds generated from this year's #WorldGiraffeDay will be used to support this initiative.
Happy World Giraffe Day! Check out the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to support great science and conservation across the continent. Funds generated from this year’s #WorldGiraffeDay will support a conservation translocation to augment the population of giraffe in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park. I’ve studied giraffe in this beautifully rugged area for the past 3 years and this conservation initiative has the potential to be an important chapter in the remarkable narrative of giraffe in Uganda.
The vast savannahs and striking mountainous terrain of Kidepo Valley National Park provides a stunning backdrop for a historically significant population of Nubian giraffe. This rugged landscape is home to one of only two remaining naturally occurring populations of giraffe in Uganda. The current Kidepo Valley National Park population, however, is only a small remnant of its prior size. What was once the historical stronghold of giraffe in Uganda, the Kidepo Valley National Park population was decimated by a period of civil unrest and intense poaching, bringing this important population to the brink of local extinction. Despite stabilization in the region and heroic conservation efforts of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, giraffe in Kidepo Valley National Park have not returned to their previous population size. Recognizing the need for reliable ecological data to inform conservation strategy, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and partners developed a conservation monitoring programme in 2015. This programme has grown from its early foundations in establishing baseline data on population size, structure and distribution to including a comprehensive population genetics study and a cutting edge GPS telemetry study to better understand the movement ecology of these giraffe. In April of 2018, a team of researchers and conservationists again traveled to Uganda’s frontier region to continue this study deepen insights into the ecology of giraffe in Kidepo Valley National Park and identify threats to this critical population of Nubian giraffe.